Niki Lauda died a year ago
Niki Lauda won the fight for survival at the Nürburgring in 1976, but lost it in the late evening of May 20, 2019.
DThis e-mail from the Lauda family plunged the Formula 1 scene into mourning a year ago: “In deep sorrow we announce that our beloved Niki slept peacefully on Monday, May 20th, 2019 with his family. His unique successes as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable. His tireless drive, straightforwardness and courage remain a role model and benchmark for all of us. Away from the public eye, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him.”
For decades, Niki Lauda has been the face of Formula 1: 171 World Championship races, three World Championship titles, 25 wins, 24 pole positions, 420.5 points. But Nicholas, called Niki, Lauda stood for more than just these numbers.
Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher
Only he has the courage to call the Ferrari the Shitbox (shit cart) on his first test drive. It is like an insult to majesty.
Harald Ertl, Brett Lunger and Arturo Merzario pull the Austrian out of the fire. His chance of survival: minimal. Lauda gets the last oiling in the hospital.
Incredible: 42 days after the crash, he is back in the car, with bleeding wounds under his helmet, fighting for his second world title, but giving up in the rain of Japan. He doesn’t want to overuse his guardian angel. In 1977 he made up for what he missed in 1976: he became world champion again.
But Lauda is smarter in the race and ends up winning half a point against Cheers. It is the narrowest World Cup decision ever. In 1985 he won one last race in his farewell season.
The fire crash has followed Lauda all his life. His face is drawn, his body too.
On May 20, 2019, Lauda loses the fight for survival. Previously, he was said to have been admitted to a Swiss private clinic for dialysis due to kidney failure.